I Just Spent $10,000 on Domain Names…

So it’s true, along with my fiancée we just spent $10,000 on Domain Names!

Unfortunately for me though, they are not domain investments for me to resell.

After more than six years of being a retailer of other company’s makeup brands on Makeup.co.nz, Claire and I are finally starting our own makeup brand! We’ve decided on “Colouration Cosmetics” as the brand name.

Before my mostly domainer audience checks out at the word ‘makeup’, read this: Future Market Insights (FMI) valued the global cosmetics market in 2017 at US $52 Billion! This is anticipated to touch a value of nearly US $80 Billion in the year 2026. It’s a massive industry!

How Do You Spell That?

‘Colouration’ is dictionary word, and an offshoot of the root word ‘Colour’.

In our native country of New Zealand, colour is spelled with a ‘u’. In the US it is spelled without a ‘u’ like ‘color’. It’s a funny thing, that English word spellings can be so similar, but so different just based on region.

If I’m not mistaken it is only in the US where ‘color’ has no ‘u’. The rest of the Western World, i.e. Europe and the Pacific spells it with ‘u’. So Claire wants to use the spelling with the ‘u’, as that is what we are used to, and most of our prospective customers (except the US) spell it with a u.

So What Does ‘Colouration’ Actually Mean?

According to most online dictionaries, “Colouration” means:

“the appearance of something with regard to colour”

Appearance and Colour. These are both perfect brand connotations for a makeup company! Especially where colour will be a major factor of the products themselves.

The name also has the word colour in it, so even without knowing it is a cosmetic brand, it signals to someone hearing it for the first time that this brand is related to colour. Could it be the perfect name for a makeup brand? (Claire thinks so ; )


So What Did We Buy Exactly?

The problem with ColourationCosmetics.com is that it’s pretty long. That’s a 20 character domain name. We of course own all spellings of this domain, and both versions of ColourationMakeup.com too. However the main issue is that having a 20 character primary domain name is likely problematic.

So we got thinking, what if we could get the single word – Colouration.com.

And so started a long journey….

Did we really want to pay up for a single word .com? Did we want to wait, and get some sales first, then try to get it later? Did we just want to stick with the two-word version we already owned? What about the other spelling: Coloration?

These were all questions that took weeks to discuss. This is your brand, your global presence. You don’t take something like this lightly. You don’t want to do all this work and realise that you should have done this, should have bought that at the beginning, etc.

But at the end of all of our discussions, we decided that launching on a single word domain would do wonders for branding long term. Having the root word was important to protect the ‘Colouration’ brand long term. And with the word Colouration already being a long enough word on its own, using just the root word as the domain name just made sense.

We don’t like to do things by halves here, so we wanted to secure both the UK spelling (Colouration) and the US spelling (Coloration). We couldn’t be losing traffic to the other spelling, especially considering the word is not exactly used very commonly. Owning both would mean that we would have no leakage of traffic to some other website. ‘U’ see what I mean?

Can We Even Get Both Names?

The Mission: Buy Colouration.com and Coloration.com
The Locations: Korea and France
The Venues: Sedo Make Offer and Direct Email
The Cost: Get $18,933 in asking prices down to an acceptable level
The Risk: Not Tipping off either Seller that the other name had sold
The Challenge: Get Both Names or Walk Away
Other Factors: 3 Time Zones, 3 Currencies to convert: NZD, USD, Euros…

Game on!

One domain was on Sedo as ‘Make Offer’, and the other had a landing page to contact the owner directly. We were very worried about Sedo reporting the sale before we secured the other one. So we had to slow negotiations down, as one was getting close to finishing. We had to try to get both deals to close at the same time.

Each offer that a party makes via Sedo is valid for 7 days, so we really did use this feature to slow things down while we were starting negotiations on the other name.


Negotiating using Sedo’s ‘Make offer’ system, is something I haven’t done before. Usually I have done my all my domain negotiations by email. Sedo’s systems mean just sending dollar amounts back and forth. You can add a short message, but you don’t really get the feel of the seller.

With email negotiations obviously everything is on the table from names, locations, occupations, email addresses, wording of emails. And of course all the research one party can do on the other. With WHOIS now being somewhat locked down, it certainly makes researching the other party a lot harder.

Two Domain Negotiations To Secure One Brand

The asking price of $18,933 for the two domains was a deal breaker for us! Plus if we couldn’t get both spellings, we probably didn’t want either of them, due to the leakage factor and the fact the half the world spells it a different way. But it was meant to be. We negotiated hard and managed to get them for a combined cost of around $10,500 including escrow fees.

It was quite a contrast in negotiation styles buying two almost identical names, via two different methods. I’m not sure which negotiation method was better. But somehow we managed to close both deals on the same day!

It was quite a challenge to pull these two deals off simultaneously. How many people really make the effort to buy alternative spellings in this way? Perhaps we are a little crazy!

What are the chances that both versions would be unused and available 20 years after registration. And both be owned by domain investors willing to sell? It was a tense few weeks trying to get the initial crazy prices down on these two domains. But it was definitely worth it.

After the weeks and weeks of work trying to pull both of these separate deals off, we manged to do it! But unfortunately the work is not done. We now need to build a new business from scratch!


The Real Work Begins

We have had the idea of starting our own makeup brand for probably 2 years now. We have learned a lot in our 6 years in the beauty industry. We see certain brands doing things one way and we are like, Why would they do that? So it’s time we used our knowledge to create something new and special. We feel it is time we took the next step!

We have had a few brand name ideas over the past 2 years, and we’ve even bought domain names for them. But it was always ‘something’ + cosmetics. This always means the domain name (and therefore brand) was long.

And the shorter and more common the word you pick, the more challenging the trademark situation becomes. But once we saw both versions of Colouration/Coloration were available, we decided a one word brand would be way better than a two-word combo.

Having a one word .com will really set us apart from the other small indie makeup brands out there. And most of the large makeup companies use a single word .com, so this just helps us along on our branding journey.

Also helping us along is the fact that there are almost no trademarks for Colouration / Coloration. In fact none. A few old ones for Colorations with an ‘s’, so we are pretty much good to go in terms of trademarks.

To date we have been a retailer of other brands makeup via Makeup.co.nz. This is our first venture into creating own our brand. Manufacturing your own products (especially something as complex as makeup) is a long process. The work involved is nothing like we have undertaken before.

To be honest though, Claire is the visionary of this. She will be doing most of the creative work. She wants to build this mostly herself. She will be the face of the brand, do the product development, website and branding etc. I am happy chipping in with strategy when needed, and doing the number side of things. I need to spend my time on domains right!

Our Next Step

Now we have our brand name sorted, the hard part begins of actually pulling this off. Claire has been working most days on various aspects for months, but we still could be 6 months away from actual launch. When your product will be going out with your name on it, you have to do things right.

Once we have launched I would love to do some study on type-ins to see how many people are typing in each spelling. In fact could probably do that as soon as we start promoting the pre-launch page.

For now though, only domainers know about this, so go ahead and be one of the first to check out the site! (aka Mailchimp Landing page!)

Check out: Colouration.com
(Logo Still in progress!)

The added benefit for me is that I finally own some one-word .coms! But they aren’t for sale unfortunately!

Follow and Tweet me @NZDomainer

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